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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
My Best Friend's Wedding: SE (1997)

"I had the strangest dream. I dreamt that some psychopath was trying to break the two of you up. Luckily, I woke up and I see that the world is just as it should be."
- Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts)

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: August 22, 2001

Stars: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney
Other Stars: Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Philip Bosco
Director: P.J. Hogan

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (one use of strong language and brief sex-related humor)
Run Time: 01h:44m:46s
Release Date: August 28, 2001
UPC: 043396058170
Genre: romantic comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BBB- B+

DVD Review

With the inordinate amount of romantic comedies released at the box office in a given year, finding one that stands out among the countless disasters can be a lot like finding the holy grail. With plots so predictable that my three-month-old niece can figure out what happens next, it sometimes seems that all hope, and originality, has been lost. For myself, these problems leave me pulling my hair out in anger as I watch another seven dollars go down the drain. Though sometimes, in small isolated cases, I find myself smiling as the final credits role, when a picture freshly written and acted delights me, as is the case with My Best Friend's Wedding.

Michael (Mulroney) and Julianne (Roberts) have been best friends for as long as they each can remember. After spending "one hot month" together in college they agreed to be life long friends as they made a pact that stated that if they were each single at the age of twenty-eight, they would marry each other. Since that night Michael and Julianne have moved on to their careers (Michael is a sportswriter and Julianne a food critic), and separate lives. That is, until the night that Michael calls to announce his upcoming marriage to Kimmy (Diaz), the daughter of the owner of the Chicago White Sox and a cable TV company. After hearing of the impending nuptials, Julianne feels that she has a prior claim to Michael, and that Kimmy, who is, as Julianne describes, "annoyingly perfect," doesn't stand a chance.

Working from a script by Rain Man scribe Ron Bass, it is clear from the opening scenes that director P.J. Hogan intends to craft a different sort of romantic comedy. Bass goes against the stereotype template by creating fascinatingly interesting characters. In more than one instance, the script moves away from the trappings that are often found in cookie-cutter stories of the genre. And it is a nice change of pace to see a picture where the ending is in doubt until the closing moments.

My Best Friend's Wedding breaks conformity with its cast of characters as well. The Diaz role could have been the typical "villain" role as the audience creates a deep loathing for the person who stands in the way of the lead actor's chances at true happiness. Fortunately, Bass' screenplay is smarter than that, as Kimmy is a loveable, although slightly spoiled, twenty-two-year-old with innocence that is endearing. In the same vein, it is Roberts who is the most vividly scheming and vengeful character, yet with a terrific performance, she has you pulling for her, even as she schemes to destroy the seemingly happy couple.

While the female side of the film involves two sharply written and well-acted performances, the same can't be said for the male side. Only a scene-stealing performance by British actor Rupert Everett is of note, in the case of the two male actors that figure into the plot. As George, Everett shows striking chemistry with Roberts that is light-years ahead of that she shows with the drab Mulroney. It is no surprise to learn that several scenes were reshot to include Everett after test screening audiences overwhelmingly favored his character.

If My Best Friend's Wedding has a less-than-perfect aspect, it is that interesting issues such as male/female friendships, hindered by feelings of love and a want for something more, are skimmed over briefly. There is a terrific moment where Roberts and Mulroney dance to their own music standing on the deck of a boat as it moves along the Chicago River that sheds light on the subject, yet nothing more is ever discussed.

In the end My Best Friend's Wedding is a smartly written, well-paced screenplay by Bass with assured direction from P.J. Hogan. It is easily one of the better romantic comedies of the past five years and is of special note for any film because it creates four interesting and likeable characters.



Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, My Best Friend's Wedding:SE isn't the greatest transfer in the history of DVD, yet at the time of its original release in 1997 it was a wonder to behold. Today, no doubt thanks to numerous reference quality releases, the transfer has lost a bit of its luster, yet it is still a very good effort from Columbia TriStar. Colors are vibrant and flesh tones are spot-on, as is the case in chapter 20, where the flowers and lush, green landscapes look wonderful. Edge enhancement is noticeable is several scenes, while fleshtones are represented very well. Sharpness and detail are well done with the film having a very film like image throughout.

Thankfully the pan & scan version of the film from the previous releases has been removed.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanish, and Portugeuseyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1, My Best Friend's Wedding follows in the footsteps of most comedy films with a largely uneventful soundtrack. Yet there are several moments where ambient noise is present in the rear speakers such as the baseball game at Comiskey Park, or on the Chicago streets. Dialogue is often clear with no apparent ADR goofs, and the .1 LFE track is subtle with only the sound of a passing El train providing a low rumble in chapter 9. A Dolby 2.0 track is also provided in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portugeuse, Chinese, Korean, and Thai with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring It Could Happen To You and About Last Night
Production Notes
2 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Say a Little Prayer sing along
  2. DVD Rom features
Extras Review: Originally released in December of 1997 with no extra features, My Best Friend's Wedding has been re-released with a host of new features by Columbia TriStar. First is Unveiled: Making Of My Best Friend's Wedding, a 15-minute, behind-the-scenes documentary that is largely promotional. Most noteworthy is a look at the alternate ending and how test screenings changed what could have been a disastrous finale when compared to the final cut of the film. Another nineteen-minute documentary entitled On The Set is a less in-depth look at the making of the film, including interviews with the cast and crew.

Next, there are a host of lesser features led by Wedding Do's and Don'ts. Running nearly five minutes, this black & white short features narration on the proper way to have a wedding and what not to do when planning for your big day. My Best Friend's Wedding Album is a nicely done, eight-minute short that plays a lot like a pop up video episode, set against outtakes from the film. Did you, for instance, know that the going rate for church rental in the city of Chicago? Neither did I. Quite possibly the best extra feature on the disc, and a nice look at the city of Chicago.

Trailers for My Best Friend's Wedding, It Could Happen To You and About Last Night, cast filmographies, and a Say A Little Prayer sing-along round out the extra features.

A DVD-Rom feature titled Who's The One For Me? quiz and slideshow is also included.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

The latest in a recent swell of special edition re-releases by Columbia TriStar, My Best Friend's Wedding: SE is undoubtedly one of the most deserving. With a nicely done anamorphic transfer, the disc also benefits from several worthwhile extra features. This is a wonderful film that deserves your attention. Recommended.

 


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